THE FEMALE ELDER
THE FEMALE ELDER
I AWOKE THIS MORNING REMEMBERING AN ANCIENT MYTH WORTH SHARING.
There are many versions of this myth. Below is one I offer for you to think about. It was part of my dream. Recently my dreams have been related to coming to terms with my past as well as with the wonders and gifts that the totality of inner and outer beauty offered by Aging and the wisdom that comes with it. I like calling it (S)aging.
The word “cailleach” in the Scottish-Gaelic means old woman! “coileach-oidhche” is also the word for owl; roughly translated, it can mean “night-cockerel”! These birds were most often associated with the Crone aspect of the Goddess. The owl is often a guide to and through the Underworld, a creature of keen sight in darkness, and a silent and swift hunter. It can help unmask those who would deceive you or take advantage of you.
According to A Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara Walker, to the Celts,….The Woman was the same as their Ana, first of the Female Goddesses…. and to some, was the mother goddess of the mythic early settlers of Ireland.
The version prominent in my dream involved the beauty and wisdom of the Crone, used much as the above definitions imply, in the original ancient positive meaning when the wonderful worldly (and sometimes well-worn) woman, was revered for all the wisdom she’d gained over her lifetime.
Dreams may be viewed differently, none that negate the other; purely as scientific phenomena, as a message from other world, our connection to a universal energy, or in a more simplistic and pragmatic fashion as a precious tender gift of a message to ourselves. We are the producers, directors; scriptwriters, actors wandering in sleep, unfettered without boundaries, following path chosen but not immediately known.
In this dreams (sexuality, intimacy, and love which are issues I’ve been writing about for years, were only partial aspects of the totality of my half asleep early morning meanderings. Woman’s soul and the meaning of mentoring appeared to be emerging and evolving.
Today was a special Celtic holiday where there was an especially beautiful elder Botticelli like Venus arising from her clamshell, beautiful hair locks, as long and uncombed as the original vision, standing against a breath taking cloudless Celtic sky. It was up to the man selected for this occasion to shoot an arrow through her (or perhaps an apple perched atop of her head?) Somehow, though sliced, she would not be harmed. Depending upon which of her vertical half fell first, good or evil for the rest of the year would follow the land.
The story, at least in my dream, is the ending journey of Eve from our beloved Adam and Eve mythology (or truth). Here is Eve who over her life span has grown from the innocent in the Garden who now has proffered more than an apple of evil to the world. She has blossomed into a strong whole presence capable of holding good, perhaps over evil.
I don’t believe there is an actual story akin to this particular dream. However, I do think my dream is pointing to a new direction in my life work. With age (pardon me if I sound sexist, which I am not) perhaps especially with a woman’s added years, she holds the wisdom of evil and good within her. She has aged with life’s birth cycles as part of her heritage. It is up to the modern wise crone as it was once the responsibility of the revered elder woman to mentor and share her knowledge with the world. Perhaps she has always needed Adam, to help her arrive at this Still Point?
I think of this tale (or dream) in modern terms. With the world in chaos and conflict erupting wherever we look, perhaps its time for war trained generals to have their mothers’ sitting at the peace table extending the proverbial olive branch. For, how can those trained in war easily find paths to peace? A mother’s heart always loves. She tends to seek balance and more often strives for harmony over discord.
I also think of my dream (bear with me please as I wonder to modern media and life in the real world) when it comes to cosmetic surgery. Eliminating well-worn and well-earned facial lines for those who can afford it and want to has evolved into a popular “must” in many countries. In the West, the US included, the value of beauty is to have a form of agelessness. Or, perhaps, with the advent of modern media and medical procedures we are seeking to live beneath a shared new and accepted mask underneath which women (and men) can still reveal their wisdom and beauty?
I write these ideas without judgment. Times change and we change with them. But, let us never forget that a whole person, no matter what their visage, can only offer all the qualities they possess. If their inner and outer beauty is congruent they glow. To reach this pinnacle where wise elders can mentor well, takes a lifetime of living and learning. Perhaps, being a wise even spiritual owl can be a magical metaphor for all to become, and aspire to be?